UCLA Claims Third Straight Pac-10 Title
March 6, 2008
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Darren Collison scored off his own miss for the go-ahead basket in overtime, helping No. 3 UCLA rally from a 14-point deficit to beat seventh-ranked Stanford 77-67 Thursday night and clinch the Pac-10 title outright.
The Bruins (27-3, 15-2) won their third consecutive regular-season title on their home court for the first time in three years and put themselves in solid position to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Brook Lopez had 18 points and 13 rebounds and his 7-foot twin Robin added 14 points for Stanford (24-5, 13-4), which has lost five of its last six against the Bruins. Taj Finger scored 10 points.
Tied at 63 after regulation, the Bruins dominated overtime by outscoring the Cardinal 14-2. Brook Lopez scored Stanford's only basket and Anthony Goods committed an intentional foul on Westbrook.
Mbah a Moute dunked off Collison's pass to put UCLA up 65-63, its first lead since starting the game 2-0. From there, the Bruins rolled in front of 12,671 cheering fans.
UCLA ran off eight straight points--four each by Russell Westbrook and Love -- to close within three points with 3:17 remaining in regulation.
Finger scored four straight for the Cardinal, including a shot that banked in for a 60-55 lead.
Mbah a Moute scored and Westbrook hit a layup to draw the Bruins within one. Love fouled Brook Lopez, who made the first and missed the second for a 61-59 lead.
Westbrook got fouled in the scramble for Lopez's miss and hit both free throws to tie the game at 61. Lawrence Hill hit a jumper with 7 1/2 seconds left for a 63-61 lead, but he fouled Collison at the other end.
Collison made both with 2 1/2 seconds left to force overtime.
The 7-foot Lopez twins combined with 6-8 starting forward Hill to make the inside mostly impenetrable for the Bruins, who needed most of the game to recover and win their sixth in a row.
Love took the brunt of the Lopez brothers, alternately pushing and shoving the 2-inch taller twins in the post.
The Bruins were held to a season-low 18 points in the first half, when they shot 7-of-22 from the floor. They staggered through a 5 1/2 -minute scoreless stretch when the Lopez twins either altered UCLA's shots or the Bruins hurt themselves with shots that rimmed out and turnovers.
The Cardinal raced to a 12-2 lead and extended it to 28-14 on a run of seven straight.
Robin Lopez's basket pushed Stanford's lead back to 14 early in the second half. Then Love hit a 3-pointer to launch a 25-13 run that left the Bruins trailing 45-43 with 9 1/2 minutes left. Collison scored 11 points in the spurt.
But the Cardinal answered right back with an 11-2 run that kept them ahead 56-45. The Lopez brothers combined for nine points.
Then Love, Westbrook and Collison took over and propelled the Bruins into overtime.